EDITORIAL | Revisit the law

APPROVED in October 1991, the Local Government Code of the Philippines is a law that spells out the devolution of functions from national agencies to local government units (LGUs) to provide the latter with more rooms to improve their systems.

Also known as Republic Act 7160, the law is supposed to slowly provide LGUs with autonomy in running their operations by establishing offices similar to those regional offices of national government agencies.

An example is the environmental offices in the LGUs and the regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. These are two offices that have almost similar mandates, but the regional offices have bigger budgets because the LGU offices rely mainly on the coffers of the LGUs which, except for bigger cities, in turn rely on the internal revenue allotments from the national government.

In the first few years of the implementation of the law, LGUs complained that they did not have the funds for the operations of the offices. The biggest budgetary problem then was the operations of local hospitals as the devolution of these institutions did not carry the corresponding budget.

There have been moves to look into the impact of the law on the LGUs as well as the efficiency of the regional offices. However, there has not been major overhaul to address the issues raised by LGUs.

It is now necessary for the legislature to reassess the impact of the law, particularly in relation to its goal of providing LGUs with better mechanisms in their operations. One aspect that must be considered in the evaluation is the redundancy in the operations of local offices and the regional offices.

The reasoning that they failed to address a certain issue because of lack of personnel is a favorite scapegoat in government because one of the biggest problems in government operations is redundancy. Sometimes, this even creates irritants among the agencies as they try to point the blame to one another when an issue is not addressed.




Posted in Opinion